Gajwel communal tension: People held for mosque attack, BJP MLA detained to prevent escalation

It all began in Gajwel town with a clash between two groups after a person allegedly urinated near a Shivaji statue on Monday night.

BySumit Jha | Raj Rayasam

Published Jul 05, 2023 | 7:26 PMUpdatedJul 05, 2023 | 10:08 PM

Gajwel communal tension: People held for mosque attack, BJP MLA detained to prevent escalation

As tension gripped Gajwel town in Telangana’s Siddipet district after a mob reportedly assaulted and paraded a man for allegedly urinating near the statue of Chhatrapati Shivaji on Monday, 3 July, the local police reported subsequent incidents of provocation, including stone-pelting at a mosque.

On Tuesday, the Madina Majid in Gajwel town was attacked by a group of people.

In an FIR registered based on a complaint by the Tanjamul Masjid Committee president Sayyad Yousufuddin, the police said some anti-social elements took out a huge rally and attacked the mosque by throwing stones and damaging flags on the Madina complex.

After the incident, the police arrested five people and are looking for others who were involved in the desecration.

“Through CCTV footage, we have identified the people who threw stones and damaged flags of the mosque. Also, a team has been formed to find the remaining accused in the case,” the Gajwel station house officer (SHO) told South First.

The accused have been charged under Sections 153A (intentionally promoting religious hatred), 295A (insulting religious beliefs), 188 (disobeying orders from public servants), and 143 read with 149 (engaging in unlawful assembly with a common intention to commit an unlawful act or use force) of the IPC.

Gajwel town, which is also the constituency of Telangana Chief Minister and BRS chief K Chandrashekar Rao, witnessed a clash between two groups after a person allegedly urinated near a Shivaji statue on Monday night. The person who urinated was arrested by the police the same day.

Several videos that were widely circulated on social media showed a mob raising religious slogans while parading the man through the town.

Also read: Gajwel tense as mob attacks man for urinating near Shivaji statue

8 cases registered, 11 arrested

As an uneasy calm prevailed over the town on Wednesday, 5 July, Siddipet Police Commissioner N Swetha said that eight cases had been registered and 11 people arrested in connection with the incidents that took place over the previous two days.

The arrested have been sent to judicial custody for two weeks by a local court. “The Police have constituted special teams to nab others involved in the cases,” she told reporters on Wednesday.

She appealed to people not to heed rumours being spread on social media, and warned of strong action against those trying to create disharmony by spreading such rumours.

“We made strict arrangements so such incidents do not occur in future. Yet, some people are circulating images and videos of old incidents in various manners on social media platforms,” said the commissioner.

She also mentioned that the social media cell of the police was monitoring those forwarding and spreading such messages.

“That is why we are reiterating, and requesting that such things should be avoided. Sharing the incidents’ videos, which are provocative — especially for people from certain communities — is a punishable act,” she said.

“A peaceful environment has been established with a lot of effort. The people here are also cooperating with us. We are requesting everyone to continue this cooperation,” said the commissioner.

Also Read: Row over LPG cylinder turns communal, BJP leader 11 booked

Case against Chikoti Praveen

On Tuesday, the Gajwel police also registered a case against Chikoti Praveen, an organiser of gambling events, for organising a rally in the town without permission.

The rally took place amidst a tense situation following communal clashes that occurred in Gajwel.

Chikoti Praveen visited the town without obtaining permission from the police and led the rally, said the cops.

Along with others, he went to the Shivaji statue, garlanded it, and poured milk on it.

The police have taken action against him for violating regulations and organising the rally without proper authorisation.

“At 2.30 pm on Tuesday, Chikoti Praveen along with his followers illegally gathered at the Chhatrapati Shivaji Statue in Gajwel town without permission and disturbed the public traffic system,” read the complaint submitted by Sub-Inspector Y Naresh regarding the incident.

He was booked under Sections 188, 341, and 143 read with 149 of the IPC.

Also read: SDPI fields Praveen Nettaru murder-accused Bellare in Puttur

BJP MLA detained on way to Gajwel

Meanwhile, the Telangana Police detained Dubbaka BJP MLA M Raghunandan Rao at the Hakimpet Air Force Station on Wednesday while he was on his way to Gajwel.

The police subsequently took him to the Alwal Police Station even as Huzurabad BJP legislator Eatala Rajender decried the detention.

After speaking to Raghunandan Rao over the phone, the BJP lawmaker demanded his immediate release.

The police said they detained Raghunandan Rao to prevent an escalation of tensions in Gajwel.